(August 2, 2007, Abingdon Virginia Premier)
The Stardust movie, based on a book by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, has finally come to theaters. I've not read the book, so my opinion is not colored by having a favorite passage condensed or cut out entirely. The basic story is that a young man vows to bring back a fallen star to a pretty girl (Victoria, played by Sienna Miller) in exchange for her kiss.
Of course it doesn't turn out to be such a simple exchange. The fallen star (Claire Danes) he has promised Victoria is not what he thought it was, nor is he the only one after it. It's quite a valuable thing, a fallen star. Even Tristan wants the star for personal gain in the beginning.
The movie begins in the town of Wall, England. It's a slow start, as most British films are, but that serves the story well and it isn't a very long start. Stardust skips right from the conception of Tristan (Charlie Cox) to his young adulthood in the small and ordinary town of Wall. The only extraordinary thing about Wall is that it borders Faerie; even its name comes from the wall put aound the fae to protect respectable citizens from going there.
Tristan, as a character, is clumsy in that way that people are when unknowingly trying to squeeze themselves into a world too small for them. He thinks he is in love with the town beauty Victoria and courts her accordingly and of course looks like a fool.Â It's not until the story progresses that Tristan and the audience discover how much of him was hidden because there simply wasn't room for him in his old life.
Visually, Stardust is gorgeous, and the soundtrack well done. There are few places I would have edited more smoothly or camera moves I would have avoided, but it's a minor thing. I'm just picky.
Stardust is a family film, if your family likes dark humor. There's no gore or splatter, and delicate situations are only hinted at; I doubt anyone's child will be traumatized. There's enough subtle adult content to keep even attention deficit moviegoers like myself entertained. Kids will probably laugh themselves sick at a few of the scenes.
The movie is funny: dark humor, subtle humor, and embarrass-yourself-by-monkey-hooting humor. Robert Di Nero plays Captain Shakespeare with lighthearted humor, Michelle Pfieffer is wickedly funny, literally, and even Peter O'Toole as the dying king is sickly humorous. Ian McKellen narrates.